Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Mexico & Central America (
-   -   CR travels in March (

Idahospud Aug 6th, 2006 06:55 PM

CR travels in March
I've enjoyed reading everyone's stories & hoping I can use some of the expertise to make sure my itinerary is somewhat reasonable.
We will be spending a week at Condovac La Costa in the Guanacaste region so will base all of the first weeks travels from there. Some of our trips we have tried to see too much so am trying to plan an every other day adventure. We would like to see Rincon, go to Playa Grande to see the turtles, and spend one day scuba diving off Playa Coco. Are there other important things to not miss while in that region? We don't think we will rent a vehicle the first week so will get around via bus & taxi. Since we may fly into Liberia (it's closest) we are thinking of flying to Quepos to begin the second week. We will probably brave the car rental to add to our adventure. We're looking at 2 nights Costa Verde, 2 nights Monteverde at Trapp Family resort, and 2 nights at Arenal (Arenal Observatory Lodge). Then fly out of SJ so most likely spend our last night in that area. We'd love to do a canopy tour & raft a river. What are your best suggestions. I really hate doing so much planning because I think flying by the seat of ones pants is more fun but my husband wouldn't agree.
Thanks for your help! Gini from Idaho

shillmac Aug 6th, 2006 08:48 PM

Sounds like a fabulous trip. The only advice I would have for you is to lighten up on the 2nd week. Every one of those locations is better suited to 3 nights and to do each of them for just 2 nights (especially considering the time you will spend transferring), well, you're talking just one day at each, more or less. My suggestion would be Manuel Antonio and ONE of the other 2 places. I prefer Arenal--the volcano (if you get to view it) is amazing. Others would tell you Monteverde.

Are you committed to the full week at Condovac? Time share? If not, then you might cut that back to 4-5 nights in order to better accomodate the rest of your itinerary. Just a thought. . .good luck! Planning is half the fun, and in March, it's good to have a plan, spring break and all. . .

Suzie2 Aug 7th, 2006 07:24 AM

If you want to do a canopy tour and raft I think you would be better off spending one more day at least in Arenal. Sky Trek Canopy tour is there and the Arenal Paraisus hotel has a very nice one. Although I really enjoyed my stay at the Observatory Lodge, it isn't in the viewing area for lava at this time. I also like staying at the Paraisus which at this moment has a great view of the lava flow. It is right on the main road so getting around to the other activities is pretty easy. The Observatory Lodge is set back quite aways off the main road. You will also be able to do a rafting trip from the Arenal area. Aguas Bravas, Rios Tropicales, both good companies.

Considering that you will have spent a whole week at the beach already, I would skip Manuel Antonio unless you could squeeze at least one day out of your weeks rental.

I have nothing against the Trapp Family resort but with such a short time up there you might get more bang for the buck if you stayed closer to Santa Elena where you could get out and walk around to some places. TF is at the end of the road next to the Monteverde Reserve and a long way from anything else. Arco Iris might be a better location for you. Don't know if you have seen this but it has a good map to get an idea of where things are.

I honestly don't see much advantage to flying to Quepos and then driving to Monteverde and Arenal. I would just get the car in Liberia and drive to Monteverde (abt 3hrs from Liberia), then Arenal (abt 4hrs from Monteverde), then Quepos (about 4-5 hrs from Arenal). From Quepos it is about a 3hr drive to San Jose or you could do a flight from there on the day of departure if you have time or day before.

If you fly to Quepos and drive to Monteverde, then Arenal travel times will look like this...

2 1/2 hr flight and transfer time to fly to Quepos- you will have to fly to San Jose and change planes. 4-5 hrs to drive to Monteverde, 4 hrs to drive to Arenal, 3 hrs to drive to San Jose.

adkmud Aug 7th, 2006 07:31 AM

My family and I did the SkyTrek Canopy Tour and Zip Lines in Arenal in July. I highly recommend them. My wife was very scared about the zip lines and the guides were wonderful.

Don't forget to eat at El Nevillo in La Fortuna if you go to Arenal. Excellent food and very inexpensive.

Have fun.

shillmac Aug 7th, 2006 09:12 AM

The hotel in Arenal with the ziplines (and a spa--very nice one) is Arenal Paraiso. It is the best location for viewing the lava flow at this time. We enjoyed Baldi Termales (hot springs) as well.

Good recommendation from adkmud for restaurante El Novillo--wonderful view of the volcano. Be sure and try their steaks. Steaks generally aren't so wonderful in CR, but El Novillo has the best we've eaten.

guanacaste Aug 7th, 2006 04:45 PM

villas sol is better than condovac and i agree with previous posters who recommend you spend more time in la fortuna/arenal than in monteverde, go on the cano negra day tour aqnd you´ll see plenty of wildlife:

i stayed at costa verde 3 months ago, very nice hotel,eat one night at bambu jam, good live music and `funky´food!

Suzie2 Aug 7th, 2006 06:16 PM

Thanks for the correction Jill. We all make mistakes and it is nice to know that someone will set the record straight. I guess I have been reading too many questions regarding the Paradisus (Conchal) on the other 4 boards that I am on lately. Not to mention that my head is still spinning from having our 4 grandkids here last week.

I did enjoy my stay at the Paraiso and eating at El Novillo next door for lunch and dinners several times was great because we had such a beautiful view of the volcano. Don't be put off by the plastic chairs.

Idahospud Aug 7th, 2006 08:52 PM

Thanks to all for your advice. I can read & read the guide books but it never really makes sense until you're there. Renting the car in Liberia sounds like a good suggestions. And yes, we are at a timeshare place for a week but we can always cut off a day without a loss. We know that area gives us lots of beach time. We're not big on tours. Is it easy to just go to Arenal & find a guide without having to book in advance?
Really appreciate all of your help. I feel like I owe lots of bags of Idaho spuds to all!

shillmac Aug 8th, 2006 05:00 PM

One of the most interesting day trips out of Arenal is Cano Negro. We were there early in July and booked it upon arrival. It was not a problem whatsoever. It was a small group (7 of us) and one of the best tours we have ever taken. I think the same would be true of the ziplines or anything else you would want to do.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:02 PM.